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Federal prosecutors plan to file charges against Rep. Grimm, attorney says

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Jan 2, 2013: Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY) talks to the media. (Reuters)

New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm's attorney confirmed late Friday that federal prosecutors plan to file criminal charges against the congressman. 

The decision follows a two-year FBI investigation into various aspects of Grimm's business and campaign history. 

"We are disappointed by the government's decision, but hardly surprised," said the statement from Grimm's attorney, William McGinley. "From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth." 

The statement said Grimm  "asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing" and "will be vindicated." 

"Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent," the statement said.

The House Ethics Committee announced in November that Grimm was under investigation for possible campaign finance violations. That committee said it would defer its inquiry because of a separate Department of Justice investigation.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn said he could not confirm, deny or comment on the case.

Grimm made headlines in January after confronting a New York City cable news station reporter who tried to question him about a long-running FBI investigation into campaign finance on a balcony in the Capitol.

After reporter Michael Scotto finished his report, Grimm stormed back, leaned into him and said, "Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this (expletive) balcony."

Scotto, who was asking about fundraising during Grimm's first campaign, protested, saying he was asking "a valid question."

During that race, Grimm has acknowledged receiving $250,000 to $300,000 in contributions from followers of an Israeli rabbi, Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Some members of Pinto's congregation subsequently said they made tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions, including gifts passed through straw donors.

Grimm has denied knowledge of any improprieties, and the FBI hasn't accused him of any wrongdoing. The Israeli businessman who had served as Grimm's liaison to Pinto's followers, Ofer Biton, pleaded guilty in August to an immigration fraud charge.

Three days after that guilty plea, the FBI filed a sealed criminal complaint accusing a Houston woman who had been romantically involved with Grimm of using straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions.

In that case, made public this month, the woman was accused of funneling at least $10,000 to Grimm's campaign by passing them through friends who agreed to have the donations listed under their names.

A spokesman in Grimm's Washington office, Nick Iacono, did not immediately return emails or a telephone message seeking comment Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report